Near Death Experience in Vietnam

My Dad was a soldier in the Vietnam War.

(Yes, Australia participated in the Vietnam War.)

Of course I have been aware of this all my life. I would not say Dad was forthcoming about his 'war stories', but was always willing to discuss them if asked.

Dad's tales always had a unique perspective because he was a 'Dog Tracker', meaning his journey through the jungle was shared with a Kelpie-Labrador cross called Caesar.

(Australia's war dogs were named in this way... Marcus, Cassius, Tiber, etc)


Peter Haran and Caesar

After a battle, it was Caesar's job to sniff, follow and then 'point' at the escaping 'enemy'.

I suppose this often put Dad at the pointy end of a second firefight.

It also means Dad had a quirky 'man and dog get into scrapes' angle to his time at war. On a few occasions Caesar saved Dad's life.

After the war Dad became a newspaper journalist, so perhaps it was inevitable that he would write a book about his Vietnam experience.

The book was called Trackers and has been quite successful.

Reading the book was an eye-opener for me, giving me a much better idea of what Dad went through.

But I always think the best way to understand a story is to go there - to stand where it happened. Take in the smells, the geography, the sounds,

So last year I travelled to Vietnam with Dad and we went to many of the places where his stories took place.

I am slowly turning them into short videos and posting them to YouTube. This was something Dad encouraged me to do - I was happy to just stand and listen to him talk.

The first video I've created is probably the most important, and is Dad's most 'famous' story. But I will let him tell it:

This extra video gives a little bit of extra information about land mines, and adds some context to the main video: